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It's imperfect, at times it's scary, but ultimately, there is promise in that beautiful future. The romance here is so fabulous, and Russo does an outstanding job of depicting teenage friendship, as well as rendering a believable small town in Tennessee, with its flaws and its redemptive qualities. This isn't a book about extremes; it's about those spaces between and why they matter. View all 5 comments. Dec 02, Trina Between Chapters rated it really liked it Shelves: I read this book in 2 days, which is rare for me. It's a debut novel and therefore I found some writing elements to be weak, but this story is SO.

I think anyone, regardless of their age or identity would get something valuable out of this book. This book is intended for readers who are cis, trans, and anyone in between. You may see yourself in Amanda, or you may see yourself in her peers or parents. This would be such an Video review here: I loved that the family dynamic was just as important as the friend group and the romantic relationship.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Don't skip the author's note at the back of the book. Nov 25, Lala BooksandLala rated it really liked it Shelves: This had fantastic self aware writing, a wonderful main character, and great messages woven throughout. Absolutely adored this book, even if it did manage to rip my heart out a few times. Trigger warnings for this book are: If I was Your Girl follows a young transwoman who has is going to live with her estranged father because of the relentless bullying at her old school.

When our main protagonist arrives, Amanda, she is met with lots of friends and even interest from a couple of the popular boys. Amanda is accepted, and she is well-liked and, for once in her life, she is "normal. In a world that will tear you apart for being even the slightest bit different from the supposed "societal norm," she still wanted to give herself a chance to honest and open about herself.

I can think of a few words to describe this book - insightful, powerful, heart-wrenching and beautiful. I went through so many emotions with this read. I know this one is going to stay with me for awhile. I have read a lot of the reviews and some people did find this book on the slow side. I had the opposite experience.

I'm writing this review at 5 a. I have been purposely seeking out more diverse books - not just because it's on "trend" but because I'm tired of reading about the same people over and over again. I want something that challenges me and lets me explore important questions. This book does that and I'm so grateful for that. There were times my stomach felt really tense during this book. I actually had to peek a couple chapters down because I became overly anxious - that is a warning to people who could be triggered by reading about people possibly being harmed in realistic situations.

I thought the characters were fairly well-developed. I really loved Amanda, I loved that she was still naive but aware. Her friends were great, although I ended up hating someone I didn't expect to. I still want to kick that person really hard. Amanda's love interest, Grant, seemed like a good guy, I think he could've used a bit more developing but I liked him enough.

I have my doubts about Grant accepting Amanda. This is probably due to my tendency to not trust people and in a religious town like they were in, I just didn't feel it was very realistic. However, I would love to find out that I'm wrong and it happens all that time. I somehow doubt we've come that far as a society yet though.

The book explores many important questions but one that struck out to me was whether you have to tell your partner about your past to be authentic to yourself. It has really made me think.


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At the end of the day I think you need to stay happy and safe and whatever that translates for you is the right answer. This is a book that should be among required reading in schools. It talks about an important topic in a non-polarizing way. Teens could likely grasp these ideas and identify with them.

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You do not need to be part of the trans community to understand bullying and stigma. I also want to point out that the author, who is a transwoman herself, points out in the acknowledgements that this story doesn't not represent the whole trans community and that she is not an educator but a storyteller. I think that was very important distinction and I really appreciated her saying so. Now go read this book! View all 10 comments. Jan 19, Natalie Monroe rated it really liked it Shelves: My review is limited by my own experiences, which has unfortunately not included actual face-to-face contact with a trans person.

My beef is with how easily Amanda is accepted into the social fold. First day at school and she's already got two male admirers and four "I should have been born a girl. First day at school and she's already got two male admirers and four instant girl buddies, without her making a genuine effort to interact with people.

Remember that iconic line from that Twilight parody movie: Wanna go to prom? Everything else I adored. There are characters in all shades of grey. Most of them are somewhere in between, transitioning, learning, like in real life. Amanda's parents love and accept her, but it also takes them time to adjust to having a daughter instead of a son.

You also have someone from a very strict religious family, a semi-closeted lesbian, a bisexual woman who makes mistakes, and a boy finding his place on the gender spectrum. Plus, special shout-out to the use of positive female relationships in the context of support systems. The ending is perfect. It doesn't end with a traditional happily ever after, but rather the promise of one.

A promise that transgender people deserve fairytale endings just as much as everyone else. Dec 17, Whitney Atkinson rated it liked it Shelves: This would have been a four star book because I thought it was a well-rounded story about Amanda becoming confident in herself and transforming into someone brave and self-assured, but I took off an entire star because the way that she was outed was so cruel and unnecessary. I wished so badly that Amanda would be able to tell Grant on her own terms, and it upset me that it was used as a plot twist instead.

However, I did end up liking how Amanda handled conflicts with everyone in the end, including how open-ended this is. Nov 27, Mara rated it liked it. This book is publishing done right. A contemporary YA romance about a transgender girl, written by a transgender woman and featuring a transgender model on the cover.

Absolutely loved Amanda's story! Jan 20, Dahlia rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is not that. I legit loved it, from the dedication to the author's note to the book itself, and will be rec-ing the shit out of it for the next year and beyond. So happy to finally have a trans book by a trans author in YA from a big publisher, and the fact that there's even trans rep on the cover is just the perfect icing.

Amanda is a great MC, the secondary characters are nicely done, and I really, really loved how involved her parents were, past and present. Like what the hell was wrong with me? I can't even think properly right now, because this book The story was amazing, I really like the dual-time aspect because it helped me to understand Amanda a lot more, to see where she's coming from and how much she went through.

I loved the romance, the way Grant and Amanda just 'clicked' like she said so well, the Stars Wars references, the cute moments, this deep trust they have in each other. And I understand the way Grant reacted, I can't say I approve but I understand, and what he says to her at the very end of the book was beautiful.

He's not trying to be perfect, he's not lying to her and saying everything is okay, no, he's saying "I love you, please tell me everything about you and help me. Help me because I want to understand you, and I won't give up on you. I just have one thing to say: So now, do yourself a fucking huge favor and go read this book.


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What the hell are you waiting for? Maybe this would be the last conversation I would ever have with Grant. I deserved to live. I deserved to find love. I knew now—I believed, now—that I deserved to be loved. If I was Your Girl is my second book that deals with transgender theme. My first one is Lily and Dunkin.

So, reading this book is like reading Lily's transgender life only she's more grown up and her name here is Amanda. Both Lily and Amanda got bullied at school. They also has a forbearing and understanding mother but an intolerant father. What's new from this book for me is that now I got to see how a fully transgender people like Amanda socializes at high school where no one knows her story. How she had a crush on a boy like Grant and finally how they make love.

Of course it's not easy for Amanda. She always says to take it slow when it's not the only reason. Because she's so popular in her new school. Everybody wants to be like her. Every boy's dying to be her boyfriend. And as the homecoming party getting closer, suddenly I smelt the plot of Carrie , which was a bit similar, in fact. But after view spoiler [the spill of the "dark secrets" hide spoiler ] , what I thought before was completely wrong.

This is no Mean Girls wanna be. I like the story telling.

If I Was Your Girl

It's told between the present and the past but not bewildering. The process of transgender is described in a light and uncomplicated way and it is a satisfactory for me. Through this book I found out that once a transgender surgery is done, one doesn't immediately become a woman. I was going to have to pretend to be a boy for a little while longer. No matter how much I tried to hide it, classmates and family members were going to notice my body change. The bullying would probably be worse than ever I don't think I would be as strong and brave as she is.

Though she once tried to kill herself, she's still a brave girl. I'm so glad with the ending. It's kinda cliffhanger but I'm pretty sure how Grant would react after reading all Amanda's story. And just like Lily and Dunkin , there's a happy and heartwarming ending between Amanda and her father. The message is crystal clear: I knew now - I believed, now - that I deserved to be loved. It is very brave to be transgender in this world, and it's even braver to write a book about a transgender character based on your experiences as trans. I know nearly everyone who's read this book has called it important, and brave, but I'm going to say it again because it's just so true.

Everyone should read this book, everyone. As a trans person who struggles with anxiety and depression, like Amanda, and who has wished many times that I wasn't alive anymore - I really fucking needed the reminder that trans people can have happy endings. It sure as hell is a rough ride getting there, but there's always - always - hope.

Thank you, Meredith Russo. View all 8 comments.

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Feb 09, Elizabeth rated it liked it Shelves: I will start off by saying that I am a cis woman, and therefore my review is limited to my own experiences. I love being a woman. It is a huge part of who I am, and I would be devastated if tomorrow someone told me I had to be a man because that's who I really was. My heart breaks for trans people when I think about the incredible amount of difficulties they face, simply for being themselves. And the amount of people who can't be themselves due to fear for their own safety.

As many more before me I will start off by saying that I am a cis woman, and therefore my review is limited to my own experiences. As many more before me have said, this is a really important book. It's a debut, the writing is rather sweet, the story moves a bit too quickly, and many of the characters are one dimensional I was nearly halfway through the book before I was finally able to differentiate between Layla, Anna, and Chloe. There is also a heavy dose of 'Murica the promposal scene, the twangy, Southern dialect, and the religious undertones - Anna's parents having an "I can't help if I'm a homophobe, I was born that way!

I think this would be a particularly valuable novel for younger teens between the ages of Stand out moments for me were the relationship between Amanda and her parents, trying to be supportive while desperately fearing for their child's safety and ability to lead a "normal" life; as well as the confession scene between Amanda and Bee wherein Bee wonders what is okay for her to inquire about and Amanda tells her exactly what she doesn't want to be asked. This was super informative and really good to know!

Parts of the novel are heart-wrenching, and I think so many people, regardless of gender or identity, would be able to take something away from this story. View all 6 comments. This is an ownvoices book about a transwoman called Amanda who moves schools in order to live with her father. It follows her becoming situated in the town, and trying to navigate high school life, whilst not outing herself as trans to those she meets. I think this was definitely a strong debut, the prose really carried me through this book and so it was a quick and easy read i'm so glad I finally read this book.

I think this was definitely a strong debut, the prose really carried me through this book and so it was a quick and easy read - very engaging. Amanda is a strong character and I also thought the side characters were interesting. The trans issues were dealt with wonderfully, and I really liked the authors note about representation at the end. One thing I really didn't like about this book was the open ending, and the representation of the bisexual character. But overall this is a book I think everyone needs to read - ownvoices trans stories published by major publishers are rare and we're privileged to have this one.

It's enlightening and important and offers a message of hope despite a world that can seem bleak for queer people tw for: Definitivamente posso dizer que nunca tinha lido um livro com uma personagem assim. Pela diversidade de personagens que o apresen Definitivamente posso dizer que nunca tinha lido um livro com uma personagem assim.

This book was so very cute, and SOOO informative. I learned so much about the trans community and how to be respectful of those within it and I am just so pleased to have read it. Only taking off a star because I feel like there were a few bits of the plot that were a little convenient or left unresolved, but I'm still so happy with this. Aug 22, Jenny Reading Envy rated it really liked it Shelves: I kept hearing about this book and decided I needed to read it too.

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In some ways I believe it's a first - a YA novel about a transgender teen, written by a transgender author, and even the cover model is a transperson from what I understand. Crossing boundaries like crazy. On other levels it is a pretty "typical" teen novel, in the sense that Amanda discovers that she is not the only one with secrets, not the only one living with high stakes should those secrets be uncovered, and the surrounding I kept hearing about this book and decided I needed to read it too.

On other levels it is a pretty "typical" teen novel, in the sense that Amanda discovers that she is not the only one with secrets, not the only one living with high stakes should those secrets be uncovered, and the surrounding society is brutal, unforgiving, and slow to change. These truths do not make her life any easier, but does serve to put them in context. After all, she has had to relocate to a small town near Chattanooga from a suburb of Atlanta after experiencing difficulties remaining in the same school after a suicide attempt as well as during her transition.

And we all know that the south remains the one of the unfriendliest places for violence toward the transgender community. There have been many instances of violence committed just this year. This is not just general bullying, this can be life or death. The author acknowledges the issues with her own novel, so I don't need to mention them but will! Nor do most people have options for surgeries and hormonal treatments so early, should they choose them. And obviously her family as described would not be likely to afford them. But the author allows for these things to be possible and true for a very important reason - to show Amanda as a possibility.

I ended up agreeing with these decisions because I was thinking back to novels like The Price of Salt you may know it as Carol where it seemed like even Patricia Highsmith with a pseudonym still had to have her character who dared to entertain the idea of happiness with a nonhetero sexuality end up with some kind of trauma or downfall because of it.

In other words for so long, lgbt characters are only "allowed" to exist in literature if their very existence leads to negative dramatic events. Intended or not, this ends up sending a message that you must suffer to be who you are. I think the author is hoping for a time where this doesn't have to be the assumption, but had to write it to have it exist in YA literature. Like any other girl, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But she is keeping a secret. Amanda used to be Andrew. Because this is such a hugely important subject matter. We need more own voices YA novels about trans issues but this one just seemed a little b from the blurb: We need more own voices YA novels about trans issues but this one just seemed a little bland to me.

I very much loved the main character Amanda. She was brilliantly written and felt rich with life But the supporting characters were all a little dull. The story didn't feel greatly detailed. The plot simply just moved along in a nice, gentle fashion. But then I got to the end of the book and I read the author's note. It caused me to rethink my opinion of this whole story and is the reason I'm giving the book an extra star. Meredith Russo in her note expresses her nervousness about writing such an idealised story focusing on a trans teenager to both cis gender and trans readers.

But her reasons were because of trying to communicate simple understanding of what it means to be trans. Why should trans stories have to be dark and gritty? That's shame on us as a society that trans people have to experience such hatred and prejudice, loneliness and isolation all because of closed minds. So what this story is, is a fluffy teen love story.

It's actually refreshing when you think about it. How it's just so beautifully simplistic. So stripped back and so hopeful. It's simply the story of a trans teenage girl who moves to a new school and falls in love for the first time like any other teenager. Yes it's very much an idealised story of dealing with being transgendered but I believe that is something that we need to read and hear about.

Because simple stories like this one makes it easier for us to immediately understand what it means and feels to be trans. I know very little about what it must mean to be trans. About all the trials and tribulations that they must face to simply have the world accept them for who they are. So by reading something simplified it helps to begin to understand and to challenge any prejudices that have been ingrained by society's long held narrow viewpoints of gender. An important read three and a half stars From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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